Monday, December 6, 2010

The Wilderness Years- The Pizza Man


Joe's Bar was located about half a block from my humble rundown apartment, in one of those beautifully transient neighborhoods where no one ever seems to stay for long, unless of course you're me and you end up there for a few years, a place perfectly suited to my needs, my needs being neighbors who didn't give a shit and slumlords who didn't give a shit and cops who didn't give a shit. Joe's Bar was one of those gorgeous city bars that cultivate their own smell, the kind of place where the locals often passed out on the bar stools, an event that regularly took place mid-afternoon, a place to buy gently used (stolen) goods from the enterprising junkies who weren't so sick that they couldn't catch the bus and rob the morning delivery trucks, in short just the kind of place an up and coming hood like me could hang out and do business and have some absolutely horrible draft beer and shoot some pool, it was also the kind of place that you never set anything on the bar, there were industrious and adventurous roaches who roamed up and down it looking for a lift to a not so crowded new home, of course gentrification helped turn the place where Joe's once stood into dueling faux Tex-Mex burrito chains but that's what the fuckheads on city council call progress now innit?

The building that housed Joe's was also home to a pizza shop run by Pizza Jim, the owner of Joe's, Joe i guess being the previous owner, a young ex-palooka who made a small pile of money slinging powder and who like every hood with a lot of money looks to somehow invest in the community, his investment being a bar and pizza shop, with two apts above and a used car dealership on the side that had cars parked out front but never seemed to be open. Now Pizza Jim saw a chance to exploit a market and though the bar was markedly white during the daytime he slowly began bringing in hip-hop dj's and turned it progressively darker at night, of course this change wasn't over-nite but i understood his thinking, where before the change there might be half a dozen drunks all staring at a television his bar was now packed at night with a shit ton of brothers all packing heat and trying to pick up the ladies, i, surprise surprise was basically the only white guy other than Pizza Joe and his employees who'd even venture into the place after 10pm, usually i'd be flying at about 35,000 ft. when i hit the door and Max the Mountain aka the doorman would cringe cuz he knew i'd be the only white guy inside and always prayed that i didn't get myself killed, see there was this one memorable night when i just couldn't stop pulling my balls out, yes i know what you're thinking but if you're gonna pierce your scrotum a few times you might as well flaunt it right? some young buck had taken a dislike to my long hair and white skin and started raising a ruckus, i responded by saying i'm fucking disco inferno and will out dance his Shock-G ass and anyone else who dare challenge the funkiest white boy alive, i then for no good reason produced my pierced ball-sac and said dig it, which sent Shock G running fast the other way yelling "that fucking white boy is crazy" and made me a hit among the four sisters closest to the show, one of who repeatedly asked to see them again and again...

And what does this have to do with the Pizza Man? were getting to that you know, by now if we've learned anything it's that i'm a long winded idiot, see there was a high ranking hood who we'll just call the Kingpin, Kingpin drove a tricked out Tahoe and had corn rows and sold stamp bags to all the white kids from Little Italy and the surrounding white neighborhoods and i sold Kingpin the kind of smoke that only a smack dealer can afford in large amounts, the kind they don't get in the hood, of course the funny thing is that Kingpin wouldn't sell his shit to the brothers and i sat there one day with him as he lectured a young black kid, clearly strung out, on the evils of heroin, told him to get his shit straight and that he'd help him out with some employment when he did, told him the smack would rot his brain and make his pecker useless and that he was to young to waste his life, patted the kid on his head and sent him on his way empty handed, i'm sure the poor kid shook and sweated his way to the next dealer but it was a touching scene until you realized that a minute later Kingpin sold a bindle or two to the next five white kids who walked through the door, i not having a death wish or wanting to lose a customer kept my mouth shut and did what i had to do, the only problem being the occasional perceptive junkie who would see Kingpin hand me money and decide that i was someone they should get to know, that is until i told Kingpin and he would pull them aside and not so politely explain that they were not to look at me and that i was the Tree Man and not some scumbag like them... The downside of this is that every time i walked by the place at night i'd hear and see people i didn't know pointing and yelling Tree Man, there's the Tree Man, Whattup Tree Man...

Now you'd think the notoriety of being the Tree Man to the Kingpin would bring more business but that was business i didn't want, the object of the game being to make money and not get caught, i once read a quote from a cop in the paper that stated that law enforcement had it's hands full with all the stupid criminals, that the smart ones they'd never see and didn't worry about, i hoped to fall in to the later group but it didn't help the situation with a bunch of drunk black guys all screaming that i'm the fucking Tree Man. Another key component to the game was supply. There was always demand you see and the trick as i've stated before was to always have shit on hand, you don't make any loot if the shelves ain't stocked and after a good run with the Dead Hippie he went south, only to be re-placed by Cocaine Ike until he fucked up, only for me to make a entreaties towards Mr. Big, he was told i was an all-star earner and reliable guy but i had been hooked into the bad juju boys, Hippie and Ike who had fucked up enough shit and lost him enough money that i believe he thought it would be more of the same, needless to say he was fucking wrong but that would be his problem not mine and at the present time i needed a steady stream to keep the money coming in, see i had student loans to pay and strippers to tip, hence the how i became the Pizza Man...

See i'm a bit out of it tonight and if my space/time continuum is a little skewed blame it on a childhood watching soap operas cuz that shit never makes sense, like that commercial about travelling at light speed and when you leave the babies a baby but when you come back he's an old man, i think it was for encyclopedias back in the day, see the selling of kind bud to Kingpin came after my forays as the Pizza Man and really the forays as a Pizza Man could be summed up in one paragraph and who really wants to read one paragraph though the way this shit is going tonight my two faithful readers you're probably hoping for a brief sentence or two but noooo, here i am fucking typing away like i'm some high school kid with a 2000 word book report due and i'm just inching towards that number while never uttering a meaningful thought, what a fucking train wreck, so Pizza Man? how did this come about? the name and all?

Well it actually came from one Gulfboot Johnson, see he was over here on one of his extended holidays visiting the future Mrs. Gulfboot and i was between suppliers, i had the high end but there wasn't alot of that and it went fast and then i was left with nothing and the average Joe wanted his average or maybe a little better smoke, i had the feelers out and people were always calling me with leads but things were not materializing as planned and one fine sunday afternoon while sitting around Joe's Bar i mentioned this fact to Pizza Jim who stated i know i guy who could help you out and a call was placed and the wheels started rolling and though the smoke wasn't great the price was right and it would get me through until something better came along, of course what's with the name? Gulfboot was on holiday and i was walking up the apartment steps into my flat, the future Mrs. Gulfboot had moved in above the roomies and i and i was carrying two pizza boxes, Gulfboot inquired about the availability of smoke and i said i got it right here come on in, he said he wasn't hungry and didn't want any pizza and i said no come into my place for minute, he walked in and i opened up the box, each box was filled with a pound of grass, spread out so as not to be conspicuous, he let out a guffaw and said you walk down the fucking street like that, i smiled and said all the time, see back then i wasn't yet the King of North Oakland and was just a guy trying to make a living, in my line of thinking what looked worse, a guy walking into a pizza shop with a backpack and walking out with same said backpack only full? or would it make more sense for a guy to walk out of a pizza shop with a couple maybe three pizza boxes? each of course containing a pound of marijuana, I'd walk down the street with my pizza boxes filled with weed, take it home, weigh it and get down to business, nothing to it, funny thing is i thought this was normal, i mean didn't everyone do this? i operated like this for a few months until i put together a new hook-up and i never thought twice about walking around with my pizza boxes, just a tall guy who must have been hungry... what was it that cop said about there being enough stupid criminals?


6 comments:

daisyfae said...

clever, clever boy! i wanna be hanging with you when the zombie apocalypse comes...

sybil law said...

But see, you were obviously NOT the stupid criminal, AND you thought nothing of it, therefore you didn't arouse any suspicion acting all antsy and whacked. I remember walking down the street doing one hits with the cigarette one hitter, thinking it was no big deal at all, and I never got caught.
I am pretty effing sure we would've been friends.

JMH said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aside from you, people don't seem to talk candidly about the procurement and distribution of drugs, although it's not that exotic an occupation.

Granted, you have the buffer of time and a talent for storytelling which would arguably be sublimated into fiction otherwise, but it makes me feel good to vicariously participate in a big Fuck You to the "Just say no" culture.

Kono said...

Daisy- i know a few tricks, hope they help when the zombie apocalypse comes.

Sybil- Oh i'm a fucking idiot, i just know how to keep my skinny white ass out of jail.

JMH- You're right, alot of people dabble in it, i most likely lasted longer than most, 7 years straight and 9 total, of course this is all fiction, autobiogrpahical fiction (nudge nudge wink wink) and it's good to know the statute of limitations and i guess i'm from that writing school were i believe in brutal honesty, be it fiction or anything else, i thank you for the accolades though, they are much appreciated out here in the Wilderness.

JMH said...

Good. I'm glad.

Jayne said...

You may be onto a new topping here. I want that pizza. Well, I would have back then. ;)